Boeing under a $1.6 million contract with the US Army's Aviation Applied
Technology Directorate (AATD) will test weapons delivery from the company's
unmanned Little Bird. The goal of this program is the refine requirements for
safe and accurate unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) weapons deployment.
This program has been stated as a high risk prototype testing in support of
future UAV systems. In parallel Boeing and AATD will gather data about some
technical challenges when communicating with UAVs. The program will test the
following weapons: Hellfire missile, APKWS guided rocket and the GAU-19A gun.
Eventually, this program will include integration of auxiliary fuel tanks and
The Unmanned Little Bird is a modified MD 530F helicopter suitable for testing
UAV systems. MD-530F Little Bird is a manned combat proven helicopter capable of
carrying a variety of weapons, which has been proven over the years. Little
Birds are employed by US Army Special Operations Forces.
Boeing is offering the Unmanned Little Bird for precision re-supply,
communications relay; airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance;
downed pilots recovery and weapons delivery. Since September 2004 through
January 2005, the test aircraft had flown nearly 100 hours validating a
autonomous flight control system that easily and cost-effectively could be added
to a manned aircraft.
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